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Chapman University has initiated a nationwide poll on what strikes fear in Americans. The Chapman University Survey on American Fears included 1,500 participants from across the nation and all walks of life. The research team leading this effort pared the information down into four basic categories: personal fears, natural disasters, paranormal fears and drivers of fear behavior.
This is the third annual survey of American Fears conducted by Chapman University.
These survey results are a representative nationwide sample of American public opinion, reflecting the U.S. census, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chapman University.
America's Top Fears 2016
The Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 3 (2016) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2016, a random sample of 1,511 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about seventy-nine different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.
The Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 3 (2016) includes questions asking about levels of belief in nine different popular conspiracies/conspiracy theories. The survey asked a random sample of Americans if “[t]he government is concealing what they know about...” the JFK assassination, Barack Obama’s birth certificate, alien encounters, the recent death of supreme court justice Antonin Scalia, the moon landing, the 9/11 attacks, plans for a one world government, the AIDs virus and global warming
In our survey we asked a random sample of Americans about fears of terrorism. First, we asked about their fears of a terrorist attack in general. And then we asked about being the victim of a terrorist attack. Some 61% of Americans believe, “The United States is likely to experience a large scale terrorist event (such as 9/11) in the near future.”
The Chapman Survey of American Fears identified factors that motivate preparedness and lead people to take action, such as making a family emergency plan or a 72 hour kit. Telling the public to prepare for disaster is an inherently scary message. When confronted with such information, members of the public can respond by trying to control the feeling of fear itself.
Roughly 1% of the U.S. adult population are Muslims. The political and social scrutiny focused on this small group has led to major political figures advocating discriminatory practices based on religion alone. In Wave 3 of the Chapman University Survey of American Fears, we explored how Americans as a whole view Muslims.
Currently the most common paranormal belief in the United States is the belief that places can be haunted by spirits with nearly half of Americans (47%) agreeing or strongly agreeing with this statement. Nearly 40% believe that ancient, advanced civilizations such as Atlantis are a part of Earth's past.